ASCAP Boss Refuses To Debate Lessig; Claims That It's An Attempt To 'Silence' ASCAP

from the you-and-me-against-the-world dept

We were among those who were amazed at ASCAP’s misguided and factually incorrect attack on EFF, Public Knowledge and Creative Commons. ASCAP’s Paul Williams falsely made the claim that those three groups were against copyright and against compensating content creators. Nothing could be further from the truth. All three groups responded politely to the bizarre and factually incorrect attack, and many ASCAP members who support these groups and use Creative Commons licenses expressed their displeasure with ASCAP for such a blatantly misleading letter. Larry Lessig responded with a blog post, again pointing out the blatant errors in ASCAP’s attack, noting that these groups actually look to help content creators by providing them tools to better exercise their rights. In that blog post, Lessig also challenged Williams to a debate so they could iron out their differences and ASCAP could (hopefully) retract their false attacks on these groups, and focus on helping artists again.

Hephaestus points out that Williams and ASCAP have refused to debate Lessig, with an open letter that is so bizarre that I keep rereading it to make sure it’s not a joke. But, apparently, it’s no joke, and it gets more and more bizarre the further you read, down to the point where Williams suggests Lessig’s request for a debate is really an attempt to “silence” him. But, let’s start at the beginning:

Anti-copyright crusaders are currently engaged in a publicity campaign to discredit ASCAP’s efforts to defend the copyrights of our professional songwriter and composer members.

Again, the groups that Williams mentioned (though, amusingly, he does not rename them here) are not anti-copyright. And the statement is wrong as well. The only thing people are trying to “discredit,” are the blatantly false claims that EFF, Public Knowledge and Creative Commons are trying to undermine copyright or that “their mission is to spread the word that our music should be free.” None of those groups makes any such claim.

The copyleft movement has encouraged a culture of disrespect for copyright by defending corporate and individual infringers; undermining every effort to provide more effective protection, no matter how limited or reasonable; promoting a reduction in copyright protection; supporting the dismantling of our rights through the courts; and questioning the basic premise that the tidal wave of infringements and unlicensed uses online hurts creators.

Well, that’s one way of looking at things. Even if it’s wrong. First of all, Creative Commons has done no such thing in “defending” infringers. That’s just false. EFF and Public Knowledge don’t defend infringement, either. They defend consumer rights, and advocate balance in how copyright law treats consumers. Copyright law in the US was always supposed to be about providing more benefit to society as a whole, not about protectionism of artists. That EFF and Public Knowledge get attacked for simply reminding people of that fact seems like a travesty. As for the final point: “questioning the basic premise that the tidal wave of infringements and unlicensed uses online hurts creators.” How does asking whether or not a claim made by certain organizations is true or false undermine copyright?

Has ASCAP really sunk so low that simply looking to see if something is factual is somehow “undermining” copyright? Really?

Then, in responding directly to Lessig’s debate challenge, Williams spends a few paragraphs talking about his own success as a songwriter, and how he now spends all of his time fighting for the right of songwriters to make a living. And, because of that, he doesn’t have time to debate Lessig, because he doesn’t see how it will “help” in this neverending fight.

Of course, this is ridiculous. Everyone wants content creators to be fairly compensated and to earn a good living. The EFF has even put together a proposal (which I don’t agree with) to create an ASCAP-like setup for digital music. Creative Commons gives content creators more options in easily licensing their music, to make it easier for them to get heard and to use within a business model. As for Public Knowledge, just a few months ago I was at an event they put on, which celebrated various content creators and their success stories in figuring out smart ways to earn a living. And, of course, many others who are regularly derided as being a part of the “copyleft” are successful content creators ourselves, and regularly highlight smart ways for content creators to earn a living. Suggesting that any of us are against helping content creators earn a living is both false and extremely disingenuous.

And then it gets bizarre. Williams simply repeats the false claims that were clearly debunked by tons of people in responding to his original letter:

I am well aware of those “copyleft” mouthpieces who take a highly critical view of ASCAP’s efforts to protect our members’ rights. That will not change ASCAP’s commitment to doing so. ASCAP exists for one purpose — fair payment to music creators for the use of their music by businesses and others who seek to attract viewers and customers. ASCAP has long welcomed and licensed new technological means of performing its members works, seeking only reasonable fees for those performances. Our members have every right to give their music away for free if they choose, but they should not be forced to do so.

People aren’t upset that ASCAP is trying to protect members’ rights. They’re upset that (1) ASCAP seems to stretch the legal boundaries to do so — such as claiming that ringtones or the 30-second “previews” on iTunes are “public performances” that require a separate licensing fee and (2) that you falsely claimed any of these groups were somehow seeking to “force” musicians to give away their music for free. No one has ever suggested that at all. That’s what got everyone upset. For Wiliams’ response to simply repeat that blatantly false claim is strange.

And then there’s this:

What I find most fascinating is that those who purport to support a climate of free culture work so hard to silence opposing points of view. They will not silence me.

Huh?!? No one has tried, at all, to silence Williams. In fact, people seem to have done the exact opposite. They’ve asked you to come out and talk about stuff in a public debate. That’s the opposite of trying to silence you. No one has any interest in silencing Williams at all. We just want him to stop making totally false claims and attacking groups who have worked hard to support artists as well by falsely suggesting they seek to undermine artists.

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Comments on “ASCAP Boss Refuses To Debate Lessig; Claims That It's An Attempt To 'Silence' ASCAP”

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118 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Last time I recall Lessig truly “debating” copyright issues was before the Supreme Court in Eldred.

He went into a deep funk after the decision was rendered.

Lessig is an academic and author. He makes nice presentations with PP slides noted for their simplicity. Unfortunately, when engaged in discussions with those having other viewpoints he comes across as an academic, which reduces the force of his arguments.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

he comes across as an academic, which reduces the force of his arguments.

To a rational person the force of an argument does not depend on how its author “comes across”.

If we are to make progress we must stop judging arguments on the basis of who proposes them or how they “come across”. We have to look at whether the arguments are logical and whether they are supported by factual evidence.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Lessig, the optimist

I hate to agree with a few of the points of this person, but Lessig did go into a funk after the Eldred vs Ashcroft fight. He discussed the conversation and his “foul ups” in his last book, lamenting how the judge gave him a a few opportunities that he had missed.

He is an optimist who knows the implications of the law and what it does. I don’t know if that translates into success in his endeavors however.

I believe that nowadays, he’s commenting on how Congress is corrupt. We already knew that Congress bends the rules in favor of the two-party system so I don’t know if his efforts to change this system are truly successful in the grand scheme of things. But that’s another story for another time.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Lessig, the optimist

Note: Please don’t take this to mean I am against Lessig in anyway, shape, or form. I highly respect the man and value his books for giving me insight into the world of copyright. Had someone on Dmusic not recommended his book a long time ago, I probably would be one of the people to truly believe everything the RIAA says about filesharing being “illegal”.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Lessig, the optimist

I hate to agree with a few of the points of this person, but Lessig did go into a funk after the Eldred vs Ashcroft fight. He discussed the conversation and his “foul ups” in his last book, lamenting how the judge gave him a a few opportunities that he had missed.

Of course, no one denied that point. Lessig did go into a funk. Years back we linked to his first writeup about it after the case: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20040301/138235.shtml

But just because he didn’t do well on his very first attempt at a Supreme Court case doesn’t mean he can’t debate or that his arguments hold no weight, as the anonymous commenter implies.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Lessig, the optimist

Re-read my initial post and I believe you will not find anything stated or implied that his arguments hold no weight.

What I did say is that it is one thing to have academic mastery of a subjet, and quite another thing to present it effectively as a matter of advocacy.

The very same can be said of other academics such as Nesson. Experience in the classroom does not necessarily translate into success outside of it.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Lessig, the optimist

The very same can be said of other academics such as Nesson. Experience in the classroom does not necessarily translate into success outside of it.

Um. Nesson’s disastrous help in the Tenenbaum case aside, do you not realize the level of success he’s had in the courtroom in the past? He defended Daniel Ellsberg over the Pentagon Papers and won the famous case that led to the movie A Civil Action. He’s not just an academic. He’s also successfully argued a few cases in front of the Supreme Court.

I find it amusing that you dismiss Lessig for having lost a SC case, when you lost in even convincing the SC to hear your case. Do you not realize how this demonstrates why your attempt to dismiss Lessig is misguided?

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Last time I recall Lessig truly “debating” copyright issues was before the Supreme Court in Eldred.

Ah yes. Lose one Supreme Court case and suddenly your views are meaningless? Very convincing.

How many Supreme Court cases have you won?

Lessig is an academic and author. He makes nice presentations with PP slides noted for their simplicity. Unfortunately, when engaged in discussions with those having other viewpoints he comes across as an academic, which reduces the force of his arguments.

I find this reverse appeal to authority odd. You do it frequently, mocking those who actually have evidence and facts on their side, because they haven’t lived through your life. It’s a very immature stance, honestly. You are debating the person rather than what he has to say…

And, as many others pointed out, if his arguments had no basis, than Williams should be able to wipe the floor with Lessig.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

How many Supreme Court cases have you won?

Only one petition for cert, and it was denied. With the denial a new legal approach immediately emerged (as I knew would be the case) and is moving forward to the surprise and consternation of government contractors.

I do not mock people who present arguments based upon a thorough understand of salient facts and exemplify a mastery of the subject matter to which the facts pertain. Reasonable minds can always differ. I do, however, have little patience for those who jump to conclusions via a process that is intellectually suspect. Using you as an example, I do find that your study of economics has given you many unique insights from which I have learned quite a bit. When it comes to matters of law, however, the insights change dramatically.

As for ASCAP and other similarly situated groups, while I may disagree with some of their points, I can certainly understand the legal issues involved that lead them to believe some of the groups mentioned in your various articles do have a view of copyright that in some respects is outside the mainstream of both practitioners and academics.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

No one has any interest in silencing Williams at all. We just want him to stop making totally false claims and attacking groups who have worked hard to support artists as well by falsely suggesting they seek to undermine artists.

Maybe that’s all he has to say. In that case, it could seem like people are trying to silence him. 😉

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Oh, I dunno ...

“That closing flourish, though, does hint of degeneration from mere devious self-interest into actual paranoia. I hope it was just rhetoric.”

Its not paranoia. The DSM-IV rating for the people in big media today is “Media Mogul Stress Induced Disfunction Disorder” also know as “Crazy as a Shit House Rat Disorder”.

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Profile matching

“Anti-copyright crusaders are currently engaged in a publicity campaign to discredit ASCAP’s efforts to defend the copyrights of our professional songwriter and composer members.”

That sounds like me.

“The copyleft movement has encouraged a culture of disrespect for copyright by defending corporate and individual infringers; undermining every effort to provide more effective protection, no matter how limited or reasonable; promoting a reduction in copyright protection; supporting the dismantling of our rights through the courts; and questioning the basic premise that the tidal wave of infringements and unlicensed uses online hurts creators.”

Again, me (but, dismantling privileges, not ‘rights’)

Hmmm. Maybe Paul Williams is referring to me?

I’d certainly agree with Mike that Creative Commons and Lawrence Lessig are stalwart supporters of copyright, so I can’t see how Paul Williams can be referring to them.

Then again, I don’t advocate musicians give away their music (except for promotional purposes). I suggest that copies should be free, but that’s not at all the same thing as music (see Selling Music – NOT Copies.

I’d also not want to silence anyone. How could anyone championing the restoration of the individual’s freedom of speech and cultural liberty want to silence anyone? It’s a contradiction in terms.

I think I’m probably a better fit to the profile of those Williams castigates than those he nominates, but it’s not a good match even then.

Who would guess that lil ‘ol me would make Williams fearful of being silenced?

Collecting societies and any other organisation collecting a levy or tax on cultural exchange should certainly disappear, and will when copyright is abolished, but the staff of such organisations aren’t consequently silenced. They simply need to find more ethical occupations.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Sounds familiar...

“What I find most fascinating is that those who purport to support a climate of free culture work so hard to silence opposing points of view. They will not silence me.”

They may take our music, but they’ll never take…..OUR FREEEEEEDDDDOOOOOMMMMM!

Seriously, if this guy is trying to go Mel Gibson, I can think of several recent Mel quotes that might make him sound more reasonable:

“I have plenty of energy to [defend copyright]. You understand me? AND I WILL! SO JUST F—— LISTEN TO ME. LISTEN TO MY F—— RANTING. LISTEN TO WHAT YOU DO TO ME.”

Whoa, Paul. Take it easy buddy. We’re just talking here….

“Shut the f— up. I know I’m behaving like this because I know absolutely that you do not love me and you treat me with no consideration.”

Paul, music hasn’t been good since the 80’s, and it was only barely good then. That’s why I don’t love you, buddy….

“You make me wanna smoke. You f—– my day up. You care about yourself.”

Well, that isn’t nice. What do you want me to do?

“You should just f—— smile and blow me! ‘Cause I deserve it.”

Ewwwww….

” I need a woman…”

Clearly….but maybe you should find a way to do business without threatening others….

“I’m threatening you? I’ll put you in a f—— rose garden, you c—. You understand that? Because I’m capable of it. You understand that?”

And now I just pooped myself….

Russell Nelson (user link) says:

no, copyright extenders created disrespect

Copyright is a bargain, not a property right. The public says “for a limited period of time, we’ll let you collect royalties, but after that, it goes into the public domain.” The copyright defenders have said “We want to collect royalties on copying forever.” That violates the bargain. It’s theft from the public domain, and needs to be treated as the crime it is.

lavi d (profile) says:

Modern Times

The Internet sure has a way of lighting up the dark corners.

This guy could have toiled away for years, “defending creator’s rights” and “getting fair payment for uses”, without anyone in the larger world being aware of his rather twisted take on copyright.

This is not the first time this has happened. Techdirt has chronicled quite a few public meltdowns of industry-types due to technological disruption.

It’s sort of like when movies added sound – suddenly there were not just actors, there were actors and squeakers.

Nate (profile) says:

Something Small I'm Sure

I’m sure this is a small detail in this whole situation, but it caught my eye:

ASCAP exists for one purpose — fair payment to music creators for the use of their music by businesses and others who seek to attract viewers and customers.

What’s considered “fair” payment? If I were in charge of ASCAP I’d be fighting to earn my constituents and myself the most money possible. That wouldn’t be fair to “businesses and others” in my opinion. Am I assuming the right thing here, or is ASCAP /really/ trying to strike a fair deal?

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Something Small I'm Sure

When you’re trying to earn the most money possible, then any price, no matter how outrageous, is “fair.”

ASCAP would certainly charge higher licensing fees if it wasn’t for statutory royalty rates (which are set by the government). And those fees would also be “fair” – to ASCAP.

Really, “fair” is just a weasel word. The only “fair” price is one that the open market will bear. Of course, ASCAP has no interest in an open market.

Here, it’s just ASCAP’s way of pretending that they’re ordinary Joes, who are just trying to earn an honest buck, gosh darn it, and those pesky “copyleft” folks are trying to steal their wages away.

It’s not true, of course; nobody on the “copyleft” side (most especially not Creative Commons) has ever suggested that artists shouldn’t be paid.

Jay (profile) says:

Re: Re: Something Small I'm Sure

Yeah, they have. Dey took er jobs!

Seriously, ASCAP is interested in everyone going through their services. Everyone that goes through ASCAP represents more power and more money for them.

I looked through their website in what was fair for a certain type of complex…

The math for the royalty rate was insane. Because your place can have X amount of people at one time, that’s a fee. Because you have a maximum square footage, that’s also money.

It’s the same thing as rent control in NY. It does nothing but effectively kill the market. 10:1 odds, if the government lets people charge however they need to, it would work all the more to make everyone better off.

Bubba says:

Gutless Wonder - Paul Williams

What a despicable, yellow, lowly little coward. He reminds me of an old WB cartoon, where the rooster, Foghorn Leghorn would strut around talking loud and big, till he saw the dog glaring at him. Then a yellow stripe would run up his back and he would lose his ability to speak and instead run around in circles in a complete panic, clucking like the chicken he really was. Same thing here, big talk but when challenged, no balls. Just another chicken with a yellow stripe up his back.

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: Typical

Nice method of debate: spread FUD, lie about the other side’s arguments, and when asked to defend your claims, say you’ve been “silenced.”

Hey, it worked for the creationists…

I typically agree with many of your comments, Karl, even though this is off topic, but because I believe in Creation, you’ve struck a nerve. So unlike Mr. Williams, here are a few links to videos where creationists have debated evolutionists.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wr6uvUNJLww
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-0U1wJof2U
http://www.viddler.com/explore/slaves4christ/videos/10/
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gT3NZTGCtrI

Please point to where any creationists claim to have been “silenced,” and not just in these videos, but any link you can point to will suffice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Typical

Uhm…. Well, I really don’t want to get into that debate because it’s completely off topic and it’s a LONG LONG debate.

I’m Christian. I do disagree with how public schools currently discriminate against alternative theories such as Intelligent design, especially given (in my opinion) the indefensible nature of universal common descent (and it is indefensible, Darwin got a LOT wrong). But past Christians have done similar things as well, only teaching one side of the issue. I think both sides are guilty and I think if you want to teach any side you should teach both criticisms and opposing sides.

As far a Creationism, uhm…. well I don’t think that Biblical creationism can rely on science. While I believe the Bible to be true, I don’t believe it entirely on a scientific basis. The Bible itself requires faith, but the point is that no matter what you believe requires faith. The question is what requires the least amount of faith. I don’t think that God creating the universe is something we can scientifically prove because it assumes to know how the universe should look if God created it. Does this mean Creationism is beyond the scope of science. Sure, but so is universal common descent and a naturalistic ultimate cause of our universe. I think both should be taught in a philosophy of origins class.

Now Intelligent design is much more tricky. Intelligent design tries to look at characteristics of known origins and attempts to determine which of those characteristics only arises as a product of design when the origins are known. For instance, if we look at sentences written by humans and determine that they exhibit specified complexity or if we look at cars and determine that they exhibit Irreducible complexity and we never observe these characteristics originate outside design, we can then look at objects of unknown origin like biological organisms. If they exhibit these characteristics we can reasonably determine that they are designed. This is falsifiable. Why? Because if we ever see these characteristics arise through processes other than design it would falsify the notion that they reliably signal design and hence it would falsify them as evidence that a biological organism is designed.

It’s like if we found an unknown spaceship on the moon. If we can observe spaceships originating outside of design then we can’t reasonably conclude that the unknown moon spaceship was probably designed. But if spaceships do not form outside design then we can reasonably conclude that the spaceship was designed, even if the origins and designers are unknown. Intelligent design tries to figure out, what is it about that spaceship that allows us to know that it’s designed, what characteristics does it exhibit that reasonably indicate design. Even if we can’t duplicate the spaceship, perhaps because we don’t have the technology yet, we can still reasonably conclude it was designed. Now you may ask, well how did the designer form? Science doesn’t have to ask questions of ultimate cause to know the proximal cause of something. You can know that a molecule formed from the mixture of its elements without knowing the ultimate origin of those elements.

Regarding the age of the earth and the universe (which I think your first video discusses).

To me the evidence seems mixed. The bible doesn’t mention the age of the universe and as far as evidence you might want to look into the Milankovitch cycles and how they are recorded in ice core data. The cycles extend to about a couple hundred thousand years into the past. These demonstrate specific patterns that tell a rather specific past story.

If you are really interested in discussing Intelligent design on a more academic level, one person who has been debating this issue for probably over twenty years is Jack Hudson. His blog can be found below.

http://jackhudson.wordpress.com/

lux (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Typical

ID is a political spin-off off creationism, that tries to use science to deduce the existence of God. At its core, it’s a bunch of wannabe scientists (but really religious fanatics in lab coats) working on what basically parallels to alchemy in the modern age.

It’s lazy scientists like this who perplexingly look at the human eye and deduce that it’s complexity could only be arrived at via an intelligent designer. This amounts to basically throwing your hands in the air saying “Screw it, I can’t figure it out, someone else must have done this….God!”

Thank the FSM that the foundation of modern science was not built on the laughable concept of ID.

May pesto be upon him: http://www.venganza.org/

OK, back to technology!! Sorry, religious talks are up my alley. I spent 8 years in strict Catholic schooling, and these people are filled to the teeth with nonsense and naiveté.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Typical

a bunch of wannabe scientists (but really religious fanatics in lab coats) working on what basically parallels to alchemy in the modern age.

There was a really interesting article in Discover recently about how alchemy has really gotten an undeservedly bad rep. Some of the most famous and accomplished scientists of the day practiced it, and it was really the precursor to modern chemistry.

OK, well now that I’ve gotten that tangent from a tangent out of the way…

Thank the FSM that the foundation of modern science was not built on the laughable concept of ID.

You mean the Invisible Pink Unicorn, you infidel! 😉

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Typical

Well, that’s a whole other kettle of fish. I was thinking specifically of the recent Intelligent Design folks, who believe that a refusal to “teach the controversy” (though there isn’t one) is an attempt to silence them.

One example:
http://www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/the-truth/gonzalez

I’m sure I could dig out more if I wanted to, but it’s not really on topic, so in this case, let’s agree to disagree.

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Typical

I agreed with your original comment… up to the point where you made the crack about creationists. Which I’m not that offended by, just thought I’d respond since there aren’t too many of us out there. I realize that this is an issue that a) is off topic, and b) won’t resolve anything or change anyone’s mind one way or the other.

As for that link you provided, the professor in question never said (at least not that I saw) he was being silenced, just that he was denied tenure. Which may or may not be a big distinction.

I agree to agree to disagree.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: Re: Typical

Pleas e point to where any creationists claim to have
been “silenced,” and not just in these videos, but any
link you can point to will suffice.

A great deal of creationist propaganda itself is dripping in a sort of paranoid martyr complex. Creationists complain about being left out of peer review journals (for good reason) and being left out of biology classrooms (for good reason). If anything, the whole battle is about their perception of being “silenced”.

They feel the need to fight against this by pushing themselves into places where they have no business being and pushing their agenda on people that don’t share their view on religious doctrine.

Not even all devout Christians agree with what Creationists believe or try to push on everyone else.

Fundies tend to be this way, self identifying as “Christian” as if no one else is.

vivaelamor (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Intelligent Design

“If certain things in Nature are too complex to have arisen by chance, wouldn’t that apply to the hypothetical Designer of them as well? After all, such a Designer must be far more complex than any of those Designs.”

Nicely sums up the difference between science and organised religion. One embraces the unknown as a new challenge, the other just gives it a label and turns its back. That is why the Big Bang is still a theory and why the only way organised religion survives is to deny itself. Every time they get something wrong the excuse is ‘well that isn’t supposed to be taken literally’. It was until people stopped believing it.

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Intelligent Design

So: who Designed your Designer?

That would be like two dimensional beings trying to grasp a three dimensional world. While we as a species like to think we are the nadir of intelligence, we haven’t begun to grasp even the inner workings of the universe, not to mention our limited understanding of time, let alone have the intelect to comprehend a supreme being who has always existed and always will.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Intelligent Design

While we as a species like to think we are the nadir of intelligence,

I think you mean zenith.

we haven’t begun to grasp even the inner workings of the universe, not to mention our limited understanding of time, let alone have the intelect to comprehend a supreme being who has always existed and always will.

Thus why intelligent design is not science, it’s religion, and that is fine, let’s just keep it as religion.

the truck living next door (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Intelligent Design

naa nadir is prescient …. it means the lowest .. as in “im a lowly human who cannot understand:
that death is just that …
that the mysticism i crave is answered in the beauty of natural laws and the exploration and further understanding of those laws
that everlasting life devalues existence and makes us wasteful of time, energy and resources
that snakes don’t really talk, that whales don’t really serve as vacation rentals and that try as i might, living 800 years has thus far been a fantasy of some and the goal of d. cheney (the man without a pulse)

Nastybutler77 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Intelligent Design

I think you mean zenith.

Doh! Yes I did.

Thus why intelligent design is not science, it’s religion, and that is fine, let’s just keep it as religion.

Fine by me. My original point was to say that unlike ASCAP’s flapping mouthpiece Williams, creationists are always willing to debate, which I infered from Karl’s comment, in retrospect perhaps incorrectly, he was comparing creationists to Williams in that they duck debates and claim to be silenced. Now I think he was just refering to the way many claim discrimination when they don’t get equal time in school ciriculum and that sort of thing.

I never intended to get into a debate myself because A) anytime religion is involved in the equation no one wins, and B) I’m not qualified to represent the creationist side of the debate even if I wanted to.

me says:

debate method

Interesting ‘debate method’. He is basically saying something but not wanting any sort of response.

In effect he is doing this. ‘Do not give your enemy a platform up which to strike at you’. By not having the debate he is not allowing any sort of change in his statement. His statement are what they are.

My suggestion is invite him to a debate on some specific day then when he doesnt show have a slide show that debunks every one of his points.

He does not want to give you a platform upon which to attack him. So build one yourself.

Right now he is using this tactic to make your arguments look weak. By avoiding the battle he can continue to say whatever he pleases. He can probably keep this up for years. Just by saying the same thing over and over. Do not bend to his will. Schedule the debate make a big hulabaloo about how you invited him, and when he doesnt show it shows he is weaker than you. It will give your argument more strength.

Think I shall call this argument technique the reverse ambush.

Tom barger (profile) says:

ASCAP letter

I was immediately suspicious that the response was written by ascap lawyers or maybe a team. Find out who wrote it Mike!

It is only common sense for advisors to caution Paul against engaging in matching wits with a law professor. I mean, wonder of wonders, even Blago’ s lawyer convinced him to avoid testifying. The big mouth.

Paul Williams is not qualified for debate. So I says, let the ascap lawyer take up the challenge. May I suggest John Eastman. Man up!

Kleuske (profile) says:

Grrrr....

Being the leader of a small time band only very few people have ever heard of (“Kleuske & the Bad Boys”) and a photographer, using the Creative Commons license to make my/our work available to a wider audience, especially in commons.wikimedia.org i take exception at the false claims of this Content Crusader.

Creative Commons offers me/us a way to distribute my/our work without any bureaucratic hassle whilst retaining a proper copyright to all my works.

Frankly, I find the absurd claim someone is trying to “silence” this clown offensive. The fact that he refuses an open debate on the subject, after making such claims as he did is a sure sign of pure, unadulterated cowardice.

TDR says:

http://www.reasons.org

Astronomy, astrophysics, geophysics, microbiology. It simply makes logical sense that, given creation being made by God, that its very nature would speak of that fact. Assertions made above to discredit this research fail to address the question of how it does so. No evidence is provided to counter what groups like RTB are doing.

And to answer another comment above, where the question was asked – who designed the Designer – why do you think such a Designer had to have a beginning in the first place? You’re making an understandable mistake, though, in only looking at our four dimensions of space-time. But the Designer, God, is not bound by them, because he transcends them as he does all time, matter, space and energy (all four of which, according to Einstein, had a fixed point of origin).

Hard to accept, I know, but think of quantum physics, where a subatomic particle can be observed to be in two different places at the same time, and to even be moving at multiple velocities at the same time. It’s a rough analogy, but the principle is similar, I think.

One reason I don’t dismiss Dr. Ross, founder of RTB, is because (aside from his many scientific degrees), he was a scientist before he became a Christian, and if you read his story, you’ll find that he was originally trying to disprove the need for any faith, not just Christianity. To that end, he read every major holy book in the world, and not one was consistent with scientific fact except the Bible.

For instance, in Genesis 1, it says that “God created the heavens and the earth.” The Hebrew word used for “heavens” here, shamayim, specifically refers to the astronomical heavens – that is, the physical universe. And the Hebrew word used for “day” when the text refers to things done on the first day, second day, etc. actually refers to an unspecified long period of time (akin to a geological epoch) rather than a 24-hour period. We are, in fact, still in the seventh “day” of creation, if you look at things that way. And the order of creation events matches up perfectly with what astrophyics and geophysics tells us happened about the world’s formation.

The Bible also speaks of God doing things before time, space, matter and energy existed, which aligns with what Einstein said about them having a finite beginning and point of origin. And there are countless more examples. Anyway, I’ve rambled enough, but feel free to go to RTB itself to learn more.

http://www.reasons.org

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

And to answer another comment above, where the question was asked – who designed the Designer – why do you think such a Designer had to have a beginning in the first place?

If the Designer “just is” without any cause that needs to be explained, why isn’t the same thing true of the universe? If the universe must have a cause, then why not the designer? If the universe need not have a cause, then why postulate a designer at all?

the truck living next door (profile) says:

Re: Re:

oops! marked your post funny and realized the notation would be construed as funny (haha) instead of funny (man that tastes funny – eww) my apologies

but hey! i give you points for using that that typy-thing on the tele-radio-vision thing on your desk/lap/car. when god created my internet, he did it when i was already an adult — thus wasting 17 or 18 years of solid porn opportunities .. and in my world – that is no kind of god to imagine

the great difference in creationists and people who think is that thinkers can imagine the most fabulous and set out to disprove it whereas creationists read aesop’s fables and set out to prove them.

subtle differences

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Can you provide references? I can’t find any definition of this coherence test, unless you’re talking about the coherence theory of truth, which is philosophical rather than scientific.

According to science, an effect cannot be greater than its cause. In the case of evolution, the “effect” (human intelligence) is exponentially greater than its supposed cause.

This is really vague. Can you provide a reference for this part too? By what unit of measurement is human intelligence greater than its supposed cause? What are the numerical values for the two (if you don’t have numbers, you can’t tell if one is “greater” than the other)?

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

Copyright and content producers

I continue to wonder why there is so much exposure for trivial stuff, like songs and story-telling, and such short articles on substantive stuff.

But, I also object to “Everyone wants content creators to be fairly compensated and to earn a good living.” JUST because they create “content”? What if it stinks? Why would we pay people for lousy “content”? We don’t pay bad workers (we fire them).

Australia tried “compensating content creators” many years ago, and the results were awful!

Gene Cavanaugh (profile) says:

Copyright and content producers

I continue to wonder why there is so much exposure for trivial stuff, like songs and story-telling, and such short articles on substantive stuff.

But, I also object to “Everyone wants content creators to be fairly compensated and to earn a good living.” JUST because they create “content”? What if it stinks? Why would we pay people for lousy “content”? We don’t pay bad workers (we fire them).

Australia tried “compensating content creators” many years ago, and the results were awful!

average_joe says:

I find it rather ironic that so many people here are all for “sharing” authors’ works, thereby infringing on authors’ rights and breaking the law in the process, and yet these same people are critical of ASCAP because they don’t think ASCAP really protects authors’ works or rights.

Seems backwards and two-faced to me.

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re:

I don’t really get your point. Are you saying that people “sharing” the author’s work, despite his wish that they not do so, is in fact justifiable since it ultimately benefits the author, notwithstanding his wishes? Or are you saying that since ASCAP’s protection of its members isn’t maximized according to your analysis then it must follow that ASCAP’s whole goal of protecting the authors’ right is otherwise negated and rendered moot, and people should “share” files all they want? Or what?

Please explain. Not being a smart-ass. I just really don’t see what you intended to say.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’m saying that
1) ASCAP’s goal is not to protect authors’ rights, but to protect and increase its revenue
2) most writers don’t get much if anything from ASCAP, so their claims of helping, in particular, small-time songwriters, ring hollow
3) obscurity is a bigger threat to an artist than piracy
4) sharing the artist’s work, in violation of copyright or no, against his wishes or no, can at least in many cases, be beneficial to the artist.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

I’m kind of ambivalent about it. I don’t do it, I don’t think it’s a good idea, and I think it plays into the RIAA etc’s propaganda. Is it unethical? I think it’s not.

If there were no copyright, and there was an artist who said please don’t put my stuff on file sharing networks, would it be unethical to do so? Impolite, but not unethical, because you don’t have any contract with him. So the only problem is the copyright laws, and I think it’s just not categorically unethical to break those.

average_joe says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Re:

“If there were no copyright, and there was an artist who said please don’t put my stuff on file sharing networks, would it be unethical to do so? Impolite, but not unethical, because you don’t have any contract with him. So the only problem is the copyright laws, and I think it’s just not categorically unethical to break those.”

So you think it boils down to contract law? What about social contracts? What about the constitutional guarantee of copyright? Would we have any rights if everyone else to sign a contract saying we do?

I don’t really get your point.

Some contracts you don’t sign, but I bet you walk down the street everyday expecting your rights in such contracts to be respected.

Let’s say you have a right. We disagree about whether or not the right you have is a fundamental, human, and moral right, but nonetheless we agree that you statutorily have the right.

Since I didn’t agree to your right contractually, may I ethically infringe upon it?

What if I even agree that fundamentally, humanly, and morally you have the right, but technically, I didn’t agree to it contractually, may I infringe on it then?

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

Copyright is not a right, but a privilege. It was neither guaranteed nor granted by the Constitution, nor was Congress empowered to grant it.

Rights (unlike privileges) are inalienable, imbued in man by nature (protected, but not granted by statute) and thus cannot be signed away through contract.

It is ethical to ignore privileges, since by definition they are instruments of injustice.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Re:

So you think it boils down to contract law?

No, I was talking about ethics. A contract would be just one example of something that would be generally unethical to violate.

What about social contracts?

I think the social contracts regarding copying and sharing are changing. Or have already changed.

What about the constitutional guarantee of copyright?

That makes it illegal, but not necessarily unethical, thus the reason for my thought experiment about if there were no copyright laws.

Would we have any rights if everyone else to sign a contract saying we do?

I don’t understand this question.

Let’s say you have a right. We disagree about whether or not the right you have is a fundamental, human, and moral right, but nonetheless we agree that you statutorily have the right.

Since I didn’t agree to your right contractually, may I ethically infringe upon it?

Without knowing more about the right, it’s impossible to say. All you have said is that it’s a statutory right, which may or may not be ethical.

What if I even agree that fundamentally, humanly, and morally you have the right, but technically, I didn’t agree to it contractually, may I infringe on it then?

Obviously not. I’m not sure exactly what you’re getting at, but does any of that clear up my position?

Steve Baba (user link) says:

Only fools waste time arguing with fools such as Lessig

Lessig is not an academic but a lawyer who trys to win for his side by reframing, insulting, and misdirecting. In took Lessig one day to prove anyone a fool that would waste their time “debating” him by “suggesting” (the same argument right-wing talk radio uses) that they are out to “silence” him (where Lessig quotes this blog as “proof”). I thought Lessig cleaned up his act (and in the process deprived us of some entertaining foolish gibberish) when he got his new job, but I guess not.

Of course Right-Wing talk radio and digital-socialist Lessig have the right to free-speech and if Lessig can come up with any evidence that anyone serious is against free speech, Lessig should come up with the evidence or shut up or appologize. Perhaps we should get an opinion from a legal professor of ethics, if it’s not an oxymoron.

From Lessig’s own mouth on Huffington Post:

UPDATE: I’ve received a letter from Paul Williams declining my offer to debate.

“My priorities,” Williams wrote, “must be focused on songwriting and composing, and those interests that best serve ASCAP’s members. Debating you will serve neither of those priorities.”
In a letter to his members, Williams suggests that my offer to debate him was an effort to “silence” him.

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Re: Only fools waste time arguing with fools such as Lessig

So Steve, are you suggesting that Paul Williams did not say the following?

“What I find most fascinating is that those who purport to support a climate of free culture work so hard to silence opposing points of view. They will not silence me.”

Granted, I have not read that Paul Williams classed Lessig’s offer to debate as an effort to silence him, but even if that was an unfounded allegation, the above quote puts Lessig in the far more credible light.

However, I’d still doubt the credibility of both given their shared belief in perpetuating the instrument of injustice that is copyright.

Steve Baba (user link) says:

Re: Re: Only fools waste time arguing with fools such as Lessig

I would not want to quote you out of context and publicly mock you as Lessig and this blog, did but by saying:

“It is ethical to ignore privileges, since by definition they are instruments of injustice.”

that you are above the law and you can pick and choose which laws to follow since you are smarter then everyone else?

If you don’t think there should be a rule of law in an (imperfect) democracy, I would suggest not posting under your own name.

Crosbie Fitch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Only fools waste time arguing with fools such as Lessig

Well, firstly Steve, by ignoring the privilege of copyright you do not necessarily break the law, you simply risk being sued – copyright gives the holder the privilege of excluding others from making copies. And they don’t HAVE to sue anyone.

Secondly, as far as injustice goes, I’ll refer you to Wikipedia: Rights of Man.

Not all laws are ethical, especially those that derogate from the individual’s natural rights, e.g. laws permitting slavery.

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